Lianyungang GKN Huading Wheels Company celebrated its opening day on 10 April, with employees and senior management executives from both JV companies enjoying dragon and lion dances, performed alongside team-building events and speeches.

In March 2013, GKN Wheels further expanded its footprint in China with the signing of a new joint venture. The agreement with Chinese partner Lianyungang Huading Wheel Co. sees GKN Wheels taking a 65 per cent majority share in its agricultural tractor wheel production facility in Donghai, near the city of Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province in Northern China.

The new factory, known as Lianyungang GKN Huading Wheels Co. will produce wheels for agricultural equipment; primarily for the tractor and combine-harvester markets in China and Asia Pacific.

Around 200 guests attended the opening ceremony, including all employees, key customers, suppliers and government officials. Representatives of senior management from both GKN and Huading Wheels included Gerard Lavery (CEO of GKN Land Systems), Steven Norgrove (Managing Director of GKN Wheels & Structures), Stefan Magirius (President of GKN China), Dong Buxiang (Deputy Director of Donghai County Standing Committee), Ge Yanbo (Deputy Magistrate of Donghai County), Mr. Ma Guangqun (Chairman of GKN Huading Wheels) and Zhang Changhong (Managing Director of GKN Huading Wheels). An earlier official signing ceremony was held early March 2013.

With many of its customers already operating in the Far East, the joint venture will create an even stronger presence for GKN’s Land Systems Division, and subsidiary, GKN Wheels, in a rapidly expanding agricultural market. The announcement complements GKN Wheels’ existing plant in Liuzhou and product portfolio which focuses on the construction and mining markets. Positioning GKN to better serve its Chinese customer base, it extends its capability in the country to the development, manufacture and sale of steel wheels for agricultural tractor and combine applications.

Steven Norgrove, Managing Director of GKN Wheels & Structures, said: “The opening of Lianyungang GKN Huading Wheels will allow us to act as a local provider with a global support system for our key strategic customers operating locally and internationally, and represents an important expansion of GKN’s long-established working relationship with China.”

“We welcome Huading Wheels into the GKN family and look forward to helping them serve the local needs of our Chinese customers but also to take the opportunity to bring their products further into the global market place.”

The two companies have complementary portfolios, capability and technology. This will enable GKN to provide customers with the best solutions for their needs and support their growth in existing, new and emerging markets.

He continues: “By bringing together two well-established companies with complementary portfolios, capability and technology, GKN Huading Wheels will provide our customers with the widest choice of products, innovative power management components, high quality systems and solutions, while helping to accelerate and support growth in existing, new and emerging markets.”

GKN Wheels is part of the GKN Land Systems Division of GKN and has facilities in China, Denmark, Italy, the UK and the USA. Major, world class, test centres are sited in Woodridge, Illinois, USA and Carpenedolo, Italy which are responsible for testing wheel designs for manufacturers of off-highway machinery used in the agricultural, mining, construction and material handling sectors.

Production at the new GKN Huading Wheels is expected to commence in May 2013. All wheels and accessories are manufactured to ISO/TS 16949 2009 and ISO 9001: 2008 standards, with design and engineering, HSE and IT service support from GKN Wheels and the Land Systems Division.